Never underestimate a determined opponent.

On September 28, 2013, shortly before Congress shut down, a bipartisan group of representatives from the House Financial Services Committee introduced a RESPRO-sponsored piece of legislation known as H.R. 3211, the Mortgage Choice Act.

Instead of proceeding on H.R. 1077, known as the Consumer Mortgage Choice Act, the new bill strips out the provisions regarding lender-paid compensation to mortgage brokers and loan level price adjustments charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and focuses solely on the naked attempt by the affiliated business arrangement lobby to except affiliated service charges from the 3% qualified mortgage cap.  H.R. 1077 is effectively dead, but in its place is proof that the affiliate provider’s efforts were never about the American consumer — but rather only for the benefit of banks and affiliated service providers supported by RESPRO.

RESPRO and the banking lobby are now “all-in” on trying to find a way to raise the cost of residential real estate closings because on the affiliate provider side of a residential real estate mortgage transaction they can hide referral payments and kickbacks from consumers without running afoul of the 3% QM cap.  It is a desperate effort to profiteer at the consumer’s unsuspecting expense.

H.R. 3211 is no longer teasing lawmakers with the idea that it helps American consumers, either.  It is an “all-out” assault against lower-priced and more qualified independent service providers.

 Fortunately, there is still time to act.

Independent land title agents defeated H.R. 4323 and H.R. 1077.  We can do the same to H.R. 3211.  We need your help.

Enclosed here is a list of all of the current members of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee (HFSC).  Pick up the phone and call these representatives and tell them that you oppose H.R. 3211, the Mortgage Choice Act.  In your conversation, explain the following bullet points to the Representative:

1.  Affiliate service providers raise the cost of settlement for American consumers without increasing the level of service or the product delivered. 

2.  Banks use affiliate providers to shield increased settlement costs from consumers and regulators.

3.  The title insurance industry is protecting affiliated service providers because through the title insurance premium the industry can give away half of their profits in affiliated relationships with lenders, realtors and mortgage companies to lock in business, raise title insurance premiums at the state level and continue to pass these costs onto American consumers.    

This is your fight, independent land title agents.  Never have the stakes been so large and your voice so important.  Get involved today!